This week on the Mommy Labor Nurse Podcast I have an induction birth story for guys! Caitlyn Karl is a fellow mom who was on the podcast way back in episode 78. During that episode she shared with us all about her infant adoption story for her son AJ.
It was such a cool conversation and I learned SO much about what the infant adoption process looks like. At the time of recording for that show, Caitlyn was actually pregnant and expecting her first biological baby!
Caitlyn and her husband always knew they wanted to adopt and have biological children but weren’t necessary planning for it all to happen so quickly. In today’s episode, Caitlyn came back on the show to talk about her pregnancy and birth!
Her pregnancy ended with a difficult pregnancy complication known as PUPPPS which causes an itchy rash all over your body that made it nearly impossible for Caitlyn to sleep. This resulted in an induction just two days before her due date.
Caitlyn talks about how she had planned for an unmedicated birth, but still had a very positive experience with her induction and epidural because she had prepared for every possible scenario just in case.
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I always like to start off our birth story episodes by asking mamas about their experience during pregnancy. Caitlyn shared with us that she found out she was expecting on national daughter’s day, and that pregnancy was quite hard for her.
She experienced significant, all-day nausea for around 20 weeks. It was challenging because she didn’t know when it would end, and she had her brand new adopted baby at home keeping her busy! He was only 2 or 3 months old when they found out they were expecting.
When you tune in, you’ll hear Caitlyn talk about the craziness of this time in her life, and the surprise she and her husband experienced when she found out she was pregnant so soon after bringing their adopted son home.
As her pregnancy progressed, Caitlyn developed an uncommon pregnancy complication known as PUPPPs around week 37. Basically, this is an extremely itchy rash that often begins in your stretch marks, but can eventually spread all over your belly and body.
Caitlyn talks about how torturous this experience was, and that the itching was so bad she couldn’t sleep! PUPPPs is definitely one of those lesser talked about pregnancy complications, so I’m glad that Caitlyn was able to shed some light on it for our listeners.
Planning for birth
As we continue our conversation, Caitlyn opens up about her goal to birth without an epidural. Her nurse friend and doula actually introduced her to my Instagram page, @mommy.labornurse, and recommended our birth class, Birth It Up: The Natural Series!
The reason was because she wanted Caitlyn to take a class that would prepare her specifically for a non-epidural birth but still educated her about interventions just in case.
Here’s a bit of what she said,
“I was like oh, I guess that’s a smart idea and it ended up being like the best thing that I did! I would have been so in the dark about interventions, and I wasn’t because of your course.
I was able to kind of be like okay, I know about all these different things I can plan and practice all these coping mechanisms and all these different things, but at least now I know I can be prepared in case I need to have an epidural or in case I need any of these interventions [too].”
An unexpected induction
It really DID work out for the best, because in the end, Caitlyn (understandably!) needed to have an induction because she just couldn’t take the extreme itching any longer. She was scheduled for an induction and went in on June 2nd, just two days before her due date.
You’ll hear Caitlyn detail the timeline of her induction. She was started on Cytotec for a few hours to ripen her cervix before starting the Pitocin.
During this part of the episode Caitlyn also talked about the differences between her different providers and specifically the difference in interactions with OBs vs. the Midwives in her hospital setting. Caitlyn had positive experiences with both, but the comparison isn’t something I’d really heard on the podcast before.
Pain coping and then an epidural
As Caitlyn continues recounting her story, she shared a lot about what pain coping measures worked for her while she was laboring without an epidural.
She shared that she really leaned into certain patterned breathing and tapping techniques that I shared in my course. She also opened up about how leading up to labor she was worried about the noises she might make, but in the moment all of her self-consciousness went out the window.
You’ll hear me talk about some things I latched on to during my birth too – horse lips for the win! Hah.
After around two and half hours of really intense Pitocin contractions, some coming two or even three at a time without breaks in between, Caitlyn opted for an epidural. She knew this was the right decision, and that after so many weeks of no sleep due to PUPPPs getting to relax was a priority.
She did experience some nausea with her epidural which isn’t uncommon, but when you tune in you’ll hear more about that process.
Baby is here!
Caitlyn labored comfortably with an epidural for a while longer and then right after the 7am shift change knew baby was going to come soon! Right around 8am they came in to check her because she was experiencing pressure, and her midwife said baby’s head was right there – it was showtime.
Caitlyn talks about how she pushed on her back and side, but that in only 20 minutes baby came into the world! Her birth timeline from the start of her induction to baby was just a little over 24 hours – which is actually pretty quick for an induction.
Caitlyn’s postpartum journey
Caitlyn opens up about her decision not to breastfeed at all, and that her postpartum journey has felt very smooth so far compared to her really challenging pregnancy. She was able to rest completely for the first two weeks and really focus on recovering completely.
Her son AJ was just shy of 1 year old when they brought Ellie home, and she talked about how sweet it is to see him interact with her. She doesn’t think he fully understands what happened, but knows that their close age difference will mean they are the best of friends.
About Caitlyn Karl
3 months after adopting our first son, I found out I was pregnant with our daughter! I had planned on an unmedicated birth from the start and did a lot of mental/physical prep work to make it a reality.
Pregnancy wasn’t easy for me, and to top it all off, I developed PUPPPs rash at 37 weeks and ended up being induced 2 days before my due date.
Even though my original plan was for an unmedicated birth, my experience with my daughter’s birth couldn’t have been more incredible! Thanks to the prep work I had done, including taking the Birth It Up-Natural Course, I felt fully prepared, knowledgeable, and empowered for an induction and epidural.